Edel Rodden pipped for State title as Back Beach hosts final round of junior championships

Jake Santa MariaMidwest Times
Edel Rodden fell short of capturing the under-16 girls title.
Camera IconEdel Rodden fell short of capturing the under-16 girls title. Credit: Surfing WA

Geraldton hosted the final round of the Woolworths State Junior Titles as seven junior surfing champions were crowned on the shores of Back Beach on Sunday.

More than 100 of WA’s brightest young surfing stars put on a show, in the hope of representing WA at the 2023 Australian Junior Surfing Titles set to be held on Phillip Island, Victoria later this year.

Otis North (Yallingup) claimed an impressive victory in the blue-ribbon under-18 boys, claiming the State title in the process with an imposing two-wave combined total of 16.17 (from a possible 20).

But in the under-16s girls there was heartbreak for local hopeful Edel Rodden, who was leading the rankings heading into the weekend but saw Olive Hardy take the win and claim the title.

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Rodden blitzed her first heat with a 10.84 while she finished second in the semifinal to qualify for the final and an effective three-way shootout for the State title with Olive Hardy and Rosie Gillett.

But no one was catching Hardy who consistently put up 14-plus scores throughout the weekend to claim the title with a 14.17 while Rodden settled for fourth with a 6.33.

“Today has been so fun, the waves and weather have been so good and I’m really happy with the win,” Hardy said. “I prefer surfing reef breaks, but I’ve really enjoyed mixing it up here at Back Beach and I can’t wait to head to Phillip Island in November.”

Local surfer Cruz Macdonald was half a turn away form taking the under-14 boys total finishing just 0.13 behind winner Charlie Harris.

MacDonald had finished runner-up in his heat and semifinal but looked to have turned that around with a strong opening hat-trick of scores headlined by a 6.80 and 6.70 on back-to-back waves.

But Harris scored a 7.60 on his third wave to give leaving him needing only 5.91 to claim the win.

Just as it looked like he would fall short, on his final wave he pulled out a 6.03 to pip MacDonald at the death.

Describing the competition as a “nursery” for WA junior talent, Surfing WA events manager Justin Majeks lauded the quality and spirit of the young surfers.

“I’d like to congratulate our newly crowned junior State champions, as well as our divisional winners and finalists for an exciting title race in 2023,” he said.

“This event has not only displayed the depth of talent we have in WA at the moment but also their ability to adapt to different locations and conditions, which is what we’ll have to deal with a lot at nationals.”

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